PR/Media Week in Review 03-22-2009

Mark Rose, Editor, PRBlogNews, PR/Media Week in ReviewIt was a shock to see the Seattle Post-Intelligencer fold this week after 146 years of printing a newspaper.  Worse than the demise of the newspaper is the web replacement seattlepi.com - atrocious, a mess, no chance of success, an insult to the journalists who toiled at the newspaper for generations and the Pacific Northwest readers who deserve much better.

 For several yeas I reviewed web sites for the the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, the group that produces the annual Webby awards (the Webby award ceremony this year is June 1-8, closing out Internet Week NYC). I critiqued sites based on Content, Structure and Navigation, Visual Design, Functionality, Interactivity and Overall Experience

Donning my site reviewers hat I would give seattlepi.com a failing grade. The lead story is Joel Connelly’s lame piece on Seattle restaurants (they deserve better than his perfunctory attention). The home page goes on forever – a mishmosh of soft features you can find on dozens of other sites. I can go on but it’s not worth it. What a shame. What was Hearst thinking?

“We look at this as a great experiment to launch a fully digital local-media company in Seattle, taking advantage of the great brand and the great talent that we have,” Steven Swartz, president of Hearst newspapers, said in an interview. Shira Ovide chronicles the collapse of the paper and the grand, misguided Hearst experiment in her story in the Wall Street Journal.

Can PR Save GM?  Automotive giant General Motors Corp. is nurturing a whole new image in cyberspace, defined by tweets, blogs and one-on-one conversations. See General Motors public relations exec Tom Wickham uses online tools to spread good news about automaker from MLive.com.

“We’re so deep into social media, we have our own team specializing in this,” Wickham said. He’s a newcomer to one of the hottest sites, twitter.com. Just this month, Wickham enrolled as TweetingTom. “I’m out there tweeting, sharing information,” he said. “That’s how PR is evolving, connecting with people one on one on one.”

 China military trains first public relations team. An initial class of 51 officers graduated this week in an effort to “raise the opinion-forming ability of the force’s foreign propaganda team and advance the innovation and development of the military propaganda work,” the official People’s Liberation Army Daily reported Friday.  Frightening! See Associated Press story.

Penn. Gov. Ed Rendell is paying an old political hand $100,000 to spearhead a publicity campaignfor programs financed with billions of federal economic-stimulus dollars. Rendell’s hiring of Ken Snyder as a subcontractor comes at a time the governor is calling for spending cuts and tax increases to avoid a state budget shortfall of more than $2 billion. See Rendell Hires Publicist to Tout Stimulus Money.

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